Making Money Writing (or Editing)

This week on Hide and Create, Diana Rowland, Jordan Ellinger, Moses Siregar and Joshua Essoe talk about making money as a traditionally published author, a tie-in author, an indie writer, and a freelance editor. You’ll hear about our expenses and our revenue streams–we left nothing on the table in this episode!

10 thoughts on “Making Money Writing (or Editing)

  1. What a great episode, and thank you for laying all this out! I’ve seen some individual author figures before, but hearing it across this scope and diversity of careers has helped me put some things in perspective.

    I’ve been reading and hearing a lot that indie success depends on getting a lot of books out there, and I’ve been gearing towards traditional publishing because I tend to write books in the 125-175K range. But Moses’ book is longer, and that has me rethinking a bit. How viable is it in the market right now for writers of longer works to build steady readership in indie markets? Is traditional still more recommended for the amount of time put into such a book vs. the amount of time in the shorter books? I’ve seen a few indie authors splitting their larger books into volumes or parts, too, and then publishing an omnibus at a later time. Is that something that is helpful, or more harmful to your readership?

      1. Holly,

        I was reminded that Diana is currently at the Rio Hondo workshop and unavailable! But hopefully Moses has answered your question.

    1. Hi Holly! Thanks for listening. My first novel was 120K and the one I’m writing now is projected at around 150K. And that’s not really the ‘smart’ way to do it, if making money is a goal. 🙂

      As an indie, the best bet is to put out more books faster, as you said, and that usually means writing shorter works. For me, it’s just that I can’t write my stories at a length shorter than what they seem to require, so I stubbornly/stupidly continue to write them even at a longer length. But who knows, it’s possible that a publisher might someday be more interested in my series because of the length of the works.

      If you split your book up to have more releases, it can work. But I’d be very careful with that. Ideally each book feels satisfying and full on its own. I wanted to split my first book up into two but the story just didn’t lend itself to that.

      Even in trad publishing though, speed is becoming more important all the time. So I’m not sure that that’s a better route even at that 125-175K range. Maybe if you can do that and still write REALLY fast … it’s a tough one.

      1. Hi Moses, thanks for answering! I do write moderately fast, so I might still have options open. I definitely agree that a book is best when it can stand on its own, and as to that I’ll have to see if restructuring my novels is an option.

        One thing that definitely draws me to indie publishing is that there aren’t the traditional limits on book or series structure, and the options of what can be done are mind-boggling. But I guess the trick is to find what’s awesome, what works for the story, and what works for the audience to eventually make a living at it.

        Thanks again for answering, there’s lots to think about here. And like you said in the podcast, everything’s changing so quickly. I’m starting to think the single greatest asset a writer can have right now (well, besides skill) is an open mind and a willingness to go wherever the opportunities are.

    1. Great info, Tim! Thanks for the link, and thanks for the compliment. It’s amazing how fast things continue to change in the e-book market. I’m very happy to see some stats to back up the production of longer works.

    2. What a great article! I’ve been trying all week to see if I can break my books apart, but it wasn’t happening. Honestly, I like buying longer books, too. This is very encouraging, especially for the epic fantasy market.

      1. Glad to help. That was another thing I wanted to mention, that I get annoyed when books are cut too short. Extinction Point was 3600 locations on kindle, and I felt like i just read the first act and then had to pay to read more. It didn’t help that I didn’t really like his book.

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